The port of Cape Town, one of the country's busiest of seven commercial ports dotted along South Africa's 3900km long coastline.
The port of Cape Town, one of the country’s busiest of seven commercial ports dotted along South Africa’s 3900km long coastline.

Pretoria: 22 February 2016

South Africans might hurriedly get used to and settle permanently with the knowledge that their’s is a maritime country whose vast oceans remain central to its economic development into the future, according to Department of Transport deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga.

Department of Transport Deputy Minister: Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga.

Ms Chikunga told mourners at a funeral of a senior manager of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), Ms Sindiswa Carol Nhlumayo; in Port Shepstone, KwaZulu-Natal at the weekend that the development of the country’s maritime economy – long suffering neglect yet with abundant economic resources – was now firmly in government’s national agenda and that no effort was being sparred by the State to ensure that requisite infrastructure, along with appropriate human skills were invested upon.

According to government estimations, South Africa’s oceans inclusive of an Exclusive Economic Zone equivalent some 1.5-million square kilometers along a coastline equivalent some 3900km, have the potential to contribute up to R177-billion to the country’s Gross Domestic Product and create more than one million jobs by 2033.

Ms Chikunga is the designated cabinet minister for co-ordination of South Africa’s maritime economic sector development and which effort is being pursued through the Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) programme – a joint initiative between the State, the private sector as well as educational and research institutions.

Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) was launched in October 2014 targeting for rapid development over the next five years, five subsectors of the country’s maritime economy; Off-shore Oil and Gas, Marine Transport and Manufacturing, Marine protection services and Ocean governance, Aquaculture and Marine Tourism.

Ms Sindiswa Nhlumayo, former Executive Head, Centre for Maritime Excellence
Ms Sindiswa Nhlumayo, former Executive Head of SAMSA’s Centre for Maritime Excellence

Ms Chikunga bemoaned the premature death of Ms Nhlumayo, an executive head of SAMSA’s Centre for Maritime Excellence; whom she described as having been a major contributor to both the country’s tourism strategy development as well as a key national figure in the promotion of development of the maritime economic sector.

Ms Nhlumayo (45), also a PhD candidate in maritime economy studies at the Sweden-based World Maritime University, as well as a multi-award winner inclusive of the Institute of People Management (IPM) “Business Leader of the Year 2015”, died of cancer on 11 February 2016.

Ms Nhlumayo had been central to development and implementation of national human resources skills development initiatives for particularly the maritime sector and had been instrumental in forging relationships between national and international education institutions inclusive of the World Maritime University that now has direct links with the Port Elizabeth based Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.

Since 2012 as many as 22 South Africans have read for Masters and Doctoral degree in maritime studies at the World Maritime University. In addition, several other South African youths, supported by SAMSA; are enrolled for maritime economy studies in Vietnam. Similar opportunities are currently being explored with institutions in the Phillipines.

IMG_0310Ms Chikunga said Ms Nhlumayo’s death was unfortunate as it came at a time when SAMSA was gathering speed with several of its promotional programmes of the country’s maritime economic sector and which has now seen commercial cargo vessels carrying the country’s flag for the first time in more than 30 years.

Two of these were registered late in 2015, while according to SAMSA Chief Executive Officer, Commander Tsietsi Mokhele; 12 others are currently awaiting approval.

For Ms Chikunga’s full remarks, view the video clip: (Warning: the deputy Minister’s entire speech is in isiZulu)


South Africans join the world in paying warm tributes to Ms Sindiswa Carol Nhlumayo, executive head of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) Centre for Maritime Excellence.

Mourners attending Ms Sindiswa Nhlumayo's memorial service in Pretoria on Thursday, February 18, 2016
Mourners attending Ms Sindiswa Nhlumayo’s memorial service in Pretoria on Thursday, 18 February 2016

Pretoria: 21 February, 2016

Ms Sindiswa Carol Nhlumayo was laid to rest during a funeral service held at her rural village home at Emvutshini, Port Shepstone in KwaZulu-Natal yesterday.

Ms Nhlumayo, 45, an Executive Head of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) Centre for Maritime Excellence since formation in 2011, died on Thursday, February 11, 2016; after a courageous battle with cancer.

Since her passing away a week ago, tributes have poured in from South Africa and abroad, with several institutions, friend and acquaintances, family and colleagues expressing anguish at her death, virtually all describing her passing on as a sad loss for the country, particularly in the tourism, human resources development and maritime economic sectors.

Mourners at Ms Sindiswa Nhlumayo and her aunt Nonsikelelo Nhlumayo who both died of cancer on the same a week ago and were laid to rest at their Emvutshini home in Port Shepstone, KwaZulu Natal on Saturday, 20 February 2016
Mourners at Ms Sindiswa Nhlumayo and her aunt Nonsikelelo Nhlumayo funeral service  on Saturday. The two women both died of cancer on the same day a week ago and were laid to rest at their Emvutshini home in Port Shepstone, KwaZulu Natal on Saturday, 20 February 2016

Incidentaly, Ms Nhlumayo, a PhD student candidate with the Sweden-based World Maritime University; passed away on the same day as her aunt, Nonsikelelo Nhlumayo; who also tragically suffered from cancer – for what proved a double tragedy for their family on the rolling hills of Emvutshini overlooking vast fields of sugarcane and banana forests a few kilometres south of Port Shepstone.

National Transport Department deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga, paying tribute to Ms Nhlumayo during her funeral service in Port Shepstone on Saturday, 20 February 2016.
National Transport Department deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga, paying tribute to Ms Nhlumayo during her funeral service in Port Shepstone on Saturday, 20 February 2016.

At their joint funeral on Saturday, among several dignitaries and high ranking officials attending were national Transport Department deputy Mininster, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga, the National Heritage Council chief executive officer, Sonwabile Mangcotywa, Tourism Business Council chief executive officer Ms Matsatsi Ramawela, representatives of national government departments inclusive of the Department of Tourism, the Department of Higher Education, and the Department of Environmental Affairs, the local mayor as well as representatives of the local traditional leadership.

They joined the institutional leadership of SAMSA led by chief executive officer by Commander Tsietsi Mokhele and chief operating officer, Sobantu Tilayi as well as hundreds of mourners from across the country.

Ms Nhlumayo’s funeral service on Saturday was preceded by a memorial service held in Pretoria on Thursday and during which many people, from across the world, including the World Maritime University,  paid tribute to her memory.

For both these services, audio-visuals have been captured and are being shared along with photographs on the special page on this blog dedicated to Ms Nhlumayo’s memory, beginning with the shortened version below, providing highlights of the funeral in Port Shepstone on Saturday.

To view click here



An R8-billion worth oil rig and ship repair business up for grabs – Commander Tsietsi Mokhele, CEO South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).


Pretoria: 15 February 2016

The current down turn in the world’s economy and whose impact is more pronounced on depressed commodity prices but especially mining and oil, presents South Africa’s maritime economic sector with a golden opportunity to stack up investment in subsectors best positioned to benefit from it, according to South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) Chief Executive Officer, Commander Tsietsi Mokhele.

An artist's impression of the new facilities to be developed for the oil & gas subsector at the port of Saldanha
An artist’s impression of the new facilities to be developed for the oil & gas subsector at the port of Saldanha

He was speaking during a gathering of some of the country’s maritime sector business and investment leaders organized by SAMSA in Cape Town last week.

According to Mr Mokhele, sub sectors of the country’s maritime economic sector best positioned to benefit from the current global economic downturn, and which has seen South Africa’s currency exchange rate plummeting to over R15 to the US dollar in a period of less a year, were marine tourism and leisure, marine manufacturing but specifically ships and oil rigs repair and related.

Mr Mokhele said South Africa’s maritime sector economic development was now fully on the country’s agenda as illustrated by the launch of the Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) initiative in 2014, and therefore had garnered sufficient political will as well as support from infrastructure developers such as Transnet.

“What is still holding us back is the ambition of the industry, the trust levels of the (private sector) industry, those they need to more successful will respond positively to their needs,” said Mr Mokhele.

According to Mr Mokhele, with investors in the maritime sector taking advantage of current of the current global economic conditions, the oil rigs repair and boat manufacturing alone could develop an into an R8-billion worth business in the next five years.

For Mr Mokhele’s full remarks; click here:

More from the roundtable discussions to follow soon…..




South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) in mourning!

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has been left devastated following the passing away of one of its senior managers, Ms Sindiswa Nhlumayo, who passed away on Thursday night, February 11, 2016 after a battle with cancer.

Sindiswa NhlumayoMs Nhlumayo (45), an Executive Head of SAMSA’s Centre for Maritime Excellence was a highly recognized business leader and manager acknowledged worldwide for her acumen and style. 

To read more on this click here…..





Fishing sector researchers sound the alarm about popular fish species in South Africa’s seas being ‘poached’ to extinction, and call for general public involvement.

dusky kobBy the time there are only about half-a-dozen rhinos and perhaps only three elephants left in South Africa’s wild, all due to rampant and incessant poaching; there may also be no more edible fish left in the country’s oceans, such is an apparent massive scale of poaching also of popular fish species along the country’s coastline, according to two researchers.

Front page of the Jan/Feb 2015 issue of the Ski-Boat magazine
Front page of the Jan/Feb 2015 issue of the Ski-Boat magazine

Professor Nadine A. Strydom and Bruce Mann’s story of an apparent desperate plight of the country’s fish species’ rapid decimation is carried in the January/February 2016 edition of Ski-Boat, a bimonthly print and digital magazine published by the South African Deep Sea Angling Association.

Prof Strydom is an associate professor in the Department of Zoology at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) in Port Elizabeth. She is described as a specialist in the ecology of and early life history of coastal fish.

Mr Mann is a fish biologist based at the Oceanographic Research Institute in Durban. He is said to be a specialist in the stock status, biology and ecology  of linefish and marine protected areas.

A collaborator and contributor in the report is Mr Edward Turner, a sportfishing journalist involved in tourism development.

According to their report, an increasingly popular question in the South Africa fishing sector is: “Where have all the fish gone?”

Their alarm bell comes in the same period as the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) is in the process of finalizing the receiving of application forms and issuance of related policy documents, beginning February 1, 2016; for Fishing Rights Allocation for the 2015/16 period.

The researchers’ report also coincides with the release of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) Centre for Fishing’s annual fishing sector incidents report (Marine Notice No.1 of 2016) and which, summarily; paints an apparently encouraging picture in terms of gradually yet consistent reducing rates of deaths of fishermen through accidents and related in the country’s seas over the last decade or so.

Meanwhile, the researchers’ report on the dire conditions facing the country’s fish stock, describes none of it as being actually a joke as, they say; of 35 popular linefish species in a 2013 study report known as the ‘Southern African Marine Linefish Species Profiles‘ and published by the South African Association for Marine Biological Research (Oceanographic Research Institute), more than half (19) of the popular linefish had ‘collapsed’, 6 (six) were over-exploited, with only 10 perceived as ‘optimally exploited.’

The researchers state: “Much media attention is placed on charismatic animals like elephants and rhinos and the anti-poaching messages are common on t-shirts and bumber stickers, but much less attention is given to the plight of our fish species.

“Many of our coastal fish species suffer a similar plight to rhino, with rampant poaching serving the greedy few while deriving (sic) other South Africans of their natural heritage. Sadly, the media hype about rhinos seems to miss other threatened species, particularly those that are hard for people to see on a daily basis,” so says the group.

Big fish, the most productive, are gone!

kobSounding a shrill alarm, the experts claim that the current favourite target for fish poachers along South Africa’s coastal waters are big-sized fish, such as a fully grown dusky kob, and the greatest tragedy is that these large fish are also incidentally, the best breeders over time. They are all almost all gone, say the researchers!

“The dusky kop is just one on a long list of fish species for which alarm bells are ringing. Populations of many popular angling fish that formed an integral part of the rock-and-surf, estuary and skiboat fisheries in the past 50 years are already collapsed off our coast,” they say.

Precisely, line fish said to be under severe threat in South African oceans over the last few years include the following in four categories:

  1. over-fished:  the Silver Kob, the Squaretail Kob, and the Geelbek;
  2. vulnerable: the Dusky Kob, the Black musselcracker, the White-edged rockcod, the Scotsman, the Soupfin shark and the Smoothhound shark,
  3. endangered: the White steenbras, the Red steenbras, the Yellowbelly rockcod, and the Red stumpnose and
  4. critically endangered: the Seventy-four and the Dageraad

Apparently, according to the researchers in their January/February 2016 report, the only refuge for many of the fish species are Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) such as the Isimingaliso, Pondolond, Tsitsikama, Goukamma and De Hoop areas along the Indian Ocean east of the country.

However, they say; even these protected areas are only currently serving to keep pressure at bay in the immediate vicinity of the protected areas, as outside them, it is chaos.

In its 5-year strategy document for the period 2015/16-2019/20 DAFF acknowledges the problem and gives a broad outline of its planned activities in the period to counter the trend.

In the document DAFF states: “Fisheries generally is a highly contested industry, both locally and globally. It is plagued by syndicated crime, over-exploitation of high-value species, corruption and poor compliance levels.

“The department, therefore, has to introduce comprehensive responses to this complex, highly technical and technologically advanced challenge by intensifying its  monitoring and compliance efforts and working in close cooperation with other law enforcement

prepared fish foodIn their report however, Prof Strydom and Messrs Mann and Truter, while acknowledging fully a laxity in management and enforcement of fisheries regulations as a primary factor, a lack of public awareness compounds the problem and they believe, they say, that the public should “do more than just eat fish at restaurants.”

South Africans reportedly consumed approximately 313-million tons of seafood in 2010, of which 50% was sourced within the country’s waters. Much of that seafood constituted a variety of fish species.

Illustrative chart courtesy of WWF-SASSI. For a link to the website, click on the chart.
Illustrative chart courtesy of WWF-SASSI. For a link to the website, click on the chart.

“The future of our fish resources in South Africa rests in the mouths of those of us who eat seafood – both anglers themselves and those who by their seafood at restaurants and the local fish shop. You are ultimately the end users of coastal fish in South Africa and you have a moral obligation to participate in conversation effort for our fish stocks,” they urge.

Tools to assist public’s direct involvement and engagement

To assist the greater public engagement sought, the researchers point to a dedicated digital platform known as the Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (SASSI) and which contains loads of information to assist especially fish dealers and consumers with knowledge about the fish they trade in or consume.

For retailers, the WWF-SASSI platform provides fish traders with information that includes guidelines to procurement of linefish from dealers operating in South Africa’s oceans.

In addition, the platform reportedly supports general members of the public by, for example: enabling people to, while seated at a restaurant, SMS the name of the fish on the menu they have ordered to a dedicated mobile number that in turn returns all the critical information known about the fish species, inclusive of its state of abundance or scarcity and some such other detail.

To encourage ease of use by the public, the platform also offers an app that can be loaded to a person’s mobile phone for purposes of accessing same information and alternatively, a downloadable booklet containing loads of knowledge about the country’s fish species and their current status.

“The demise of the dusky kob in coastal waters of South Africa is no less imminent than the threat faced by the rhino, elephant, abalone and others like them. Marine biologists are calling on all South Africans to step up and help fight the cause to ensure the sustainable use of our precious coastal fish resources,” says Prof Strydom and Messrs Mann and Truter.

Fewer deaths of fishermen on SA waters

**Meanwhile, a SAMSA report of recorded incidents of death at sea for the past 20 years (1996-2015) indicates a significant decline in the number of fishermen who die at see while at work.

Fishing Incidents timeline 96_15

Compiled by SAMSA’s Centre for Fishing, the report shows that even as the number of fishermen who died while at work at sea in 2015 more than doubled from only seven (7) in 2014 to 18 in 2015, the overall death trend reflected a significant decline particularly in the last decade from 2006 to 2015.

In the period, fishermen death numbers fell from double digit figures, sometimes as high as 57 per annum in the period from 1996 to 2005, to single digits of as low seven deaths per annum in the last decade to 2015.

The report may be obtained in three ways, from SAMSA offices at 146 Lunnon Road, Hillcrest, Pretoria; by requesting it via email ( or downloading it via the website: